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Can a mother have her 5 year old daughter sleep in the bed with her and her boyfriend?

Boston, MA |

i have my daughter Thursday - Saturday. her mother has her the other days. she has no room and now not even a bed, her mother has her sleeping in the bed with her and her boyfriend. is there anything i can do? i filed for visitation and wonder if i should seek custody. is this neglect?

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Attorney answers 6


If it were only the child sleeping with her mother, it would not be problematic, but the child should not be sleeping in the same bed with mother and mother's boyfriend.

Report it to DCF, and consider hiring an attorney.

Bets wishes.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.


You already have parenting time with your daughter. Why would you file for visitation?

If the mother's lack of room for your daughter is new you can file for a modification of the custody or visitation arrangements.

Though DCF and some judges have a bias against parents co sleeping, if the boyfriend is fully clothed and no sexual activity occurs while your daughter is in bed with them, it is probably it not neglect.

if you have a significant reasons to be concerned about the tailor your daughter is getting at her mother's house, you may want to consult with a family law attorney to discuss your options.

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Michael L Rich

Michael L Rich


in the last paragraph the word should have been care not tailor.


I would file for an emergency motion at Probate Court, and seek custody if that is what you wish, at a minimum to order the behavior to cease. Personaly I think this is harmful whereas others might not. Mother obviously has some other issues going on as well that should be investigated. A DCF investigation will take months and probably nothing will happen, in my opinion.

This is not legal advice until I am retained and have reviewed all facts about your situation.


Echoing the spirit of my brothers and sisters. Contact DCF and file a complaint for modification coupled with a motion for temporary orders.

I wish you all the best.

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You probably know in your gut if it's neglect or not. Families co-sleep all over the world; they have done so since the dawn of humanity. Even those who don't usually sleep in the same bed are happy to share a space when they camp or travel and so on.

Some co-sleeping is OK; some co-sleeping is not. Certainly this might be inappropriate and creepy. Or it may just be that her mom loves her and wants to see her, but can't afford another bed right now so she's sticking her on the edge to sleep.

If you think that they're good people who are doing their best with no money, then you can always buy an inflatable Aerobed and a sleeping bag, which your daughter could use. If you don't want to do that, you'll have to go to court.

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Michael L Rich

Michael L Rich


Great, thoughtful response, that incorporates common sense and practical ideas and not just a legal reaction.



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